Stress to the spine in a car accident can cause significant injuries. Back injuries are some of the most common injuries victims sustain in an accident, and the resulting treatment and rehabilitation can be strenuous and time consuming.
The pain, discomfort and nerve damage that victims suffer from can make life miserable.
No two back injuries are the same, and each person will experience a different level of discomfort. Subsequently, the recovery process is different for each person. It’s important that you get immediate medical treatment after an accident, as an early diagnosis can greatly increase your chances of a quick and full recovery.
What are Herniated Discs?
In our spinal cord, we have discs that act as cushions between the vertebral bodies. These discs minimize the impact of movement on the spinal column. Each disc is like a jelly donut, which a central softer component.
When the central portion of a disc is ruptured, it’s referred to as the disc herniation.
What are Bulging Discs?
Before a disc herniates, it may be classified as a bulging disc. This happens when a weakened or deteriorated disc swells outside its normal jurisdiction. As the disc moves, the inner jelly-like structure balloons toward the weakest point in the hard outer casing.
Bulging discs may also place pressure on nearby nerves, which can lead to discomfort or severe pain.
Generally, bulging discs develop over time. A car accident may cause a long-term injury that affects the spine and eventually causes a bulging disc.
The following are symptoms of herniated discs:
- Leg pain, sciatica, weakness in the toes, numbness: This is a signal of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine (lower back) area.
- Nerve pain in the chest/abdomen, difficulty walking or balance: This is a signal of a herniated disc in the thoracic spine (mid-back) area.
- Weakness in the shoulders, upper arms, and fingers: This is a signal of a herniated disc in the cervical spine (upper back) area.
The following are symptoms of bulging discs:
- Pain or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands or fingers: This is a signal of a bulging disc in the cervical (upper spine) area.
- Pain in the upper back: This is a signal a thoracic (mid-spine) bulging disc.
- Muscle spasms in the lower back: Thi is a signal of a bulging disc in the lumbar (lower back) area. About 90 percent of all bulging discs occur in this area.
Treatment for Herniated and Bulging Discs
Treatment for a bulging disc is generally minor. Conservative treatment is usually sufficient — over-the-counter medications, massage, ice/heat packs, physical therapy and lifestyle changes can often completely eliminate the pain.
Herniated discs, however, have a different treatment plan.
Victims with a herniated disc may undergo surgery if conservative options did not work. Surgery to repair the disc and alleviate pressure on the nerves is one option. This comes with risks, such as infection and nerve damage.
While there are risks, not treatment a severely damaged disc could cause more long-term damage and other disc ruptures. Consult with a doctor to learn what treatment is best for you.
Hire an Attorney to Assist With Your Claim
Unfortunately, accident victims with herniated and bulging discs often have trouble getting a fair settlement from the insurance company. Proving their symptoms can be difficult, as pain and pressure do not show up on x-rays and CT scans.
This leads the insurance adjuster to claim that you are exaggerating or making up your injury. This justification leads them to offering you a lowball settlement.
Hiring an attorney to assist you with your accident claim can make all the difference. An attorney will collect proof of your injury and demonstrate how that injury is affecting all aspects of your life.
Don’t get short changed in the insurance process. Hire the experienced Washington state accident attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., today. For a free case evaluation, call (203) 727-4000, fill out the form on this page or use the chat feature below.